TodayTix has launched an audience review website in the UK. Called Show-Score, you can rate and simply review* what you've seen, and the site collates the scores and reviews.
It's something that has been around in New York for a number of years. Here in the UK, other than allowing comments under online reviews, there isn't anything similar that gives audiences a voice.
Film sites have been letting audiences rate and review for years. Rotten Tomatoes aggregates critics' and audience ratings, running the two scores side by side. It's an interesting comparison because the two don't always agree.
The spectrum of voices writing about theatre has broadened in the last 10-15 years, with reviews websites and bloggers adding to the critics' reviews. Social media has been the platform for audience opinion, but it is more scattergun.
Show-Score is incentivising audience reviewers with competitions and giveaways. The more reviews you submit, the better your chance.
Some critics have been very prickly towards having bloggers step on 'their' turf; what they make of audiences having their say will be interesting to see.
Bring it on, I say. Theatre is for the audience after all, and the more voices, the more views there are has to be a good thing.
You can choose whose opinion you value; in the same way, you might choose which critics' reviews you read.
There are critics I respect, but that doesn't mean I agree with them. I've seen them trash stuff I've loved and love stuff I loathed.
This is why I don't read reviews until after I've seen something; I've been going to the theatre long enough to make decisions on what to see based on who's involved - writer, director, actors - and often just the premise.
I'm more likely to be swayed by the opinion of one of my theatre friends and fellow bloggers. But I also have friends who use reviews to decide what they will see.
Show-Score isn't without its flaws - will there be enough reviews submitted to get a consensus, for example? But it is a chance to give the audience a bit more of a voice.
What do you think? Will you submit reviews?
* There is a three-step process to Show-Score reviewing:
1. Rate the play out of a 100
2. Choose five words that best describe
3. Fill in blanks for the following: 'See it if...' and 'Don't see it if...'.
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